Saturday, September 13, 2008

Bran - Just for old people?

Bran has an image problem. Bran is like … prunes. It’s what the elderly eat when they have to deal with the gurgling issues of their gastrointestinal netherworld.

But what is bran?

It’s not just muffins that weigh as much as a brick. It’s basically the part of rice and wheat and oats that is on the outside of the seed. Historically, it was eaten along with every other part of the stalk, but when we invented roller mills, we took that part of it out to make the bread softer.

Unfortunately, we also removed the healthiest part of the plant!! The processing strips away more than half of wheat's B vitamins, 90 percent of the vitamin E, and almost all of the fiber. Plus, when you just leave the bran where it was meant to be, and eat normal oats, normal wheat, and normal rice, cholesterol lowers, triglycerides drop, incidents of heart disease decrease, the chance of diabetes plummets, along with colorectal cancer and all inflammation-related conditions.

This doesn’t mean you have to eat bran bricks, because you don’t. All you need to do is eat normal bread with whole grains, normal oats, normal rice. The stuff that is stripped of its nutrients and natural bran may look smooth and white, but it is not the plant that has grown in synergy with us as we have adapted together for optimal health.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Beans! Beautiful Beans!

We have always eaten beans. They’re one of the oldest cultivated foods. And the reason the bean has been around so long may have something to do with it being the very healthiest of foods. In other words, those who ate beans were less likely to get sick, and more likely to live a long life.

The high soluble fiber content helps reduce cholesterol, and its effect on heart health is equivalent to that of oat bran. They’re also high in potassium and contain good quantities of magnesium along with other vital nutrients. These two electrolytes are vital for keeping blood pressure low and lowering your risk of stroke. And, as a diet food, soluble fiber prevents cravings. It does this by slowing digestion from the stomach to the intestines. This makes your fullness feeling feel full longer, so you tend to eat less. A downstream bean benefit is that a slower digestion can help moderate insulin production, so that your energy levels are steady, and you don’t get blood glucose spikes. These bean benefits make them perfect for a diabetic diet.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Cabbage


Clean up after yourself. This is a basic element of living in this world … you have to pick up your mess or your life will quickly become unmanageable and unhealthy.

But what about your body dynamic? Inside your body, a gazillion times a second, your cells are bringing in energy, doing things with it, and giving off waste products. And, when you take in something that is nasty and toxic, you’ve got to take out that trash or it will build up and cause illness. This basic ecology works just as well at the cellular level as it does at your family level.

You can’t physically keep your internal cellular mechanism clean and oiled, but you can eat foods that will do that for you.

Listen to this. Over 1,000 men at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center ate 28 servings of vegetables a week. They had a 35% lower risk of prostate cancer. Blah blah blah, we might have guessed that. BUT, those who ate just 3 or more servings of cruciferous veggies per week had a 44% lower prostate cancer risk.

The same thing was found in the Netherlands on over 100,000 people. They followed these people for over 6 years, and found that those eating the most vegetables had a 25% lower risk of colorectal cancers. Neat. However, those eating the most cruciferous vegetables did almost twice as well with a 49% drop in their colorectal cancer risk.

Americans, Netherlanderthals, and also Chinese women in Singapore, who struggle with fetid air pollution levels, returned the identical result. Non-smokers who eat cruciferous vegetables like cabbage had 30% less lung cancer. In smokers, regular cruciferous vegetable consumption reduced lung cancer risk an amazing 69%!

The clean up hitter, in this case, is the indole molecule found in cabbage, broccoli, etc. These compounds activate and stabilize the body's detox system to dismantle the precursors of cancer. That may be why eating more of these also reduce the risk of breast cancer.

But cabbage is not just about slaw Рalthough slaw qualifies as a Righteous Food. You can also braise with, say, chopped apple and red wine. You can also saut̩ it with onions as a tasty side dish.

However you serve it, cabbage needs to be a part of your eating life.

Monday, September 08, 2008

It’s the perfect side dish of health!

And we’ve been eating sweet potatoes since prehistoric times (there are “sweet potato relics” dating back 10,000 years, discovered in Peruvian caves), but only in the Americas. It took Christopher Columbus to bring them to back to Europe. 100 years later, sweet potatoes were put down in the southern United States, where they’re still a staple food in the traditional cuisine.

Sweet potatoes are a whopping source of vitamin A and vitamin C. These two are great alone, but are even better in combination.

Vitamin A and vitamin C are very powerful antioxidants that work in the body to eliminate the free radicals that damage your cells and are associated with the development of atherosclerosis, diabetic heart disease, and colon cancer. This is the most delicious health food on the planet.

The anti-inflammatory properties of this orange tuber can help reduce the severity of conditions where inflammation plays a role, like asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

On top of the anti-inflammation properties, sweet potatoes also have lots of vitamin B6 to help reduce homocysteine levels.

Homocysteine?

The more of this you have, they greater your likelihood of heart attack and stroke.

So, bake them, grill them, or put some in a pan and make sweet potato fries with them. It's THE tastiest way to optimal health!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Neurobics

And-a one, and-a two, keep it up, sweat it out!

This is the brain version of exercise routines. But in stead of trying to increase the aerobic capacity of your lungs, in stead of wearing sweat bands and following the spandex'd, bouncy leader at the front of the room, you are working out the sags and in your wrinkled gray matter.

These are simple, easy, and fun exercises that keep you sharp by actually exercising your brain!

Examples Of Neurobics
Spend time in a new environment.
Go to a new park, or a new store. Travel, by the way, seems to slow age-related mental decline.

Smell new odors in the morning.
Have new odors, like a bottle of mint extract ready to smell first thing in the morning, to "wake up" your brain.

Try brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand.
This is difficult for some of us, and requires full attention the first time you try it.

Learn to read braille (or any other language).
This is a tough one, but learning to read with your fingers definitely involves one of your senses in a new context.

Respond to a situation differently.
Catch yourself in a normal and mostly unconscious response to a situation, and choose to respond in a different (and preferably better) way.

Find a new route to work.
It doesn't have to be a longer route - just different. You may even find a faster way to work once you break your routine.

Act confidently.
In a situation you are unsure about, choose to act confidently. You'll notice that your mind gets very active once you adopt the assumption that you will know what to do.

Distinguish coins using only your sense of touch.
This brain exercise can be a way to kill time when waiting for an appointment. If you really want a challenge, see if you can distinguish paper currency denominations by touch.

Leave the lights off in the house.
Get around your home by memory and feel. This certainly fully engages your attention, but be careful of course.

Have some fun with these brain exercises - having fun usually fully engages your attention to boot!!

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